The Euroleague has left the door ajar to including a British club next season under a wild card option.

A meeting of the league’s shareholders in Istanbul approved changes to the competition for 2015-16 onwards, including a Financial Fair Play system, entry criteria and the formation of a technical commission.

The number of A licence clubs will remain at 11, applying the restriction of maximum three per country or domestic league. Eight B licences will now be awarded directly through domestic league qualification to teams from the Adriatic League (2), France, Germany, Italy, Poland, Russian Federation and Spain.

However four temporary one-year B licences will be assigned as wild cards, with priority given to suitable clubs in the United Kingdom, along with France, Germany and Turkey due to what has been termed as “their status as strategic markets for the competition”. The remaining place be assigned for the 2014-15 Eurocup champion.

The Eurocup will continue to have 36 clubs for next season with one spot kept open for the UK if a suitable BBL applicant comes forward, along with three each from the Adriatic League, France, Germany, Italy, Russian Federation and Spain; two each from Turkey, Lithuania and Israel; and single clubs from Belgium, the Czech Republic, Finland, Greece, Latvia, Poland and Ukraine.

London Towers were the last British team to compete in the Euroleague in 2001-2.

Elsewhere a new economic distribution model for Euroleague teams was signed off that places greater emphasis upon their on-court success, with increased per-game earnings for every victory, highlighted by a €1 million bonus for the competition champion. The new distribution model gives 53% weight to the sports pool (distribution based on games won as well as a minimum participation fee) and 47% weight to the market pool (distribution based on the value provided to the competition from the market). Shareholders heard the budgeted forecast of a 47.3% rise in economic distribution to Euroleague clubs over the 2015-18 cycle compared to the 2012-15 cycle.

Financial Fair Play regulations will take effect for the 2015-16 season in the Turkish Airlines Euroleague, so an update was heard reminding clubs of the minimum standards applied in order to be registered in the competition, while common accounting regulations will start to be applied in the 2015-16 Eurocup as a transition towards the same FFP regulations being applied to the competition in the future.

The shareholders backed the creation of a new Euroleague Basketball Technical Commission to replace the six-year old referees commission. The new body, chaired by Mr. Costas Rigas will function as a strategic think tank that goes beyond officiating matters, drawing on the help of experts outside Euroleague Basketball to discuss and develop proposals affecting competition, sports and refereeing matters.

Additionally, a working group will be formed to improve security measures and protocols around games. The group will meet over the following two months to draw up proposals for both prevention and discipline for incidents that damage the image of the competitions. These will be forwarded for consideration and approval at the next ECA Shareholders Meeting on July 8, 2015 in Barcelona.

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